After reading and thinking through all of the names suggested for my new mouse friend — and after letting the mouse imagine each of the recommendations as his own name — we chose Filbert. In some ways you might say that Filbert chose the mouse. It just fit.
Part of the decision process including doing some research about nuts. If one is about to share his name with a nut, one should know something about nuts in general and that nut in particular. Of course, the mouse’s decision had far more to do with the way the name looks in print and how it sounds.
“Nut” is a general term for the large, dry, oily seeds or fruit of some plants. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts. Nuts are an important source of nutrients for both humans and wildlife.
All nuts are seeds, but not all seeds are nuts. Nuts are both the seed and the fruit, and cannot be separated. Seeds come from fruit, and can be removed from the fruit, like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios, which were once inside fruit.
The Filbert is part of the hazelnut family and the mouse likes the character Hazel on TV Land reruns, so that may have had some influence.
And when you Google “nut” and “filbert” it is not long until another definition pops up in the discussion which the mouse finds most amusing. Wikipedia puts it this way: “a lunatic; an individual wholly unhinged; predominant neurotic tendencies.”
Filbert also liked the idea suggested by an anonymous reader to name other mouse friends by other nut names. That reader made some specific suggestions and then Filbert did some name-hunting of his own.
We did find a grey friend and a brown friend at IKEA (the bin was half full of brown mice…I had to dig in other bins to find a grey one…white ones were all gone) and they have made their home with us. Filbert will remain my primary travel gnome — but these fellows will make occasional appearances, especially around Orlando. They don’t have passports.
The brown colored one has been given the name Kluwak.
An interesting Malaysian “nut” (actually a seed) is called “buah keluak” or “kluwak nut.” Kluwak nuts come from the kepayang tree of Indonesia & Malaysia. The oily, hard-shelled seeds superficially resemble Brazil nuts. Meaty seeds are edible after the poisonous hydrocyanic acid is removed by soaking and boiling them in water. Fermented kluwak nuts become chocolate-brown, greasy and very slippery. Cooked seeds are used in a number of popular Malaysian and Indonesian dishes.
Filbert noticed early on that Kluwak is a bit, well, sneaky and so a name of a nut that is “chocolate brown” and “slippery” seemed to suit him just fine.
The grey (or, as he likes to call it, “silver”) mouse has been given the name Mac (short for Macadamia). Filbert told me that with Hawaii getting so much attention these days because it was one of the homes of our new President, he wanted to jump on the bandwagon. He thinks it’s a trendy name and the silver mouse is surely trendy. I told him that the Mac also refers to my preferred computer which only served to encourage this name choice.
While Kluwak is a little bit devious (don’t leave any food unguarded), Mac is a whole lot of warmth and words.
So…Filbert, Kluwak, and Mac.